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Clothing - Ethiopians are so chic.

Ethiopian women traditionally wear white dresses, while men wear white tunics over riding pants. The distinctive part of Amharic and Tigrayan dress is a large white cloth worn by both men and women over their shoulders.

Traditional, and a new wardrobe. Photo: Indrias Getachew.

This is usually worn on special occasions.Heavy cloth is worn for warmth; it is called a gabby. Light gauz - like cloth is worn for dress occasions; it is called a natella. The natella usually has a very colorful border on it, which is also found near the bottom hem of the women's dress, However, a wide variety of clothing can be seen in Ethiopia ranging from loin clothes to the latest fashion.

Abyssinian Art Treasures On The Finest Silk.

These unique collection of fine silk ties are designed by Aster E. Afework. The designs were inspired by authentic folk patterns from Abyssinia - a mysterious nation rich in history, with a tradition of fine fabrics, and masters of fine art. The Abyssinians were the first to produce fadeless colors which held their hues for thousands of years. The influence of these radiant blues, greens, reds and yellows are reflected in Aster's handsome creations, handmade of the finest silk. Thousands of years of exquisite art come to life again! "This is not just another Tie."
A Treasure For The Well Dressed Man!

By Aster E. Afework: Owner-Designer

Ethiopia Women of 20 Century participation in Sport, Government, Business, and keeping their motherly love for their family as a number one priorities are moving beyond 20 century.......

<BGSOUND SRC=""> A preparatory meeting was held last Monday about the upcoming 2nd Global Women Entrepreneurs Trade Fair and Investment Forum. Present were Ato Tadesse Haile, General Manager of Investment Authority, Ms. Yeshimebet Tessema, Chairperson of the Ethiopian Women Entrepreneur Association (EWEA) and invited guests. The Trade Fair and the Forum is to be held from October 15 to October 23, 1998 in Addis Ababa. About 500 women Entrepreneurs from all over the world are expected to attend the meeting. The theme for the forum is " Credits and Direct Private Investment and the Role of Women Merchants in International Economic Activities." During the preparatory meeting, Mr. Tadesse said that the Trade Exhibition and the Investment Forum to be held in October would provide an occasion for demonstrating to the world the greatness of Ethiopia. EWEA in a recent publicity said, "We, the women Entrepreneurs of Ethiopia have been accorded the great honor and rare opportunity to host and take an active part in this auspicious event." Ethiopian businesswomen are invited to participate and support the event. For more information you may call 251 1 15 46 61 or 53 15 33 Fax 251 1 51 14 79.

Ethiopian Women In Fashion World.

By Indrias Getachew

Enkwan Aderesachuh! Happy New Year! As the final days of the Kremt rains and fresh Meskerem sunshine bless this land with their much appreciated offerings, it definitely feels like Spring is in the air, and as that most famous icon of the fashion industry Coco Chanel once put it, we are also pleased to announce that "... fashion is in the air, borne upon the wind; one intuits it..." Indeed for those who have managed to escape the drudgeries of fulfilling basic human needs, selecting a new wardrobe for a new year is one of the more enjoyable aspects of living.

As one of the more flamboyant foreign residents of Addis Ababa once put it, "Ethiopians are so chic." Our aesthetic sensibilities, at least as reflected in our traditional clothing styles, range from the more subdued, simple yet refined tastes of the highlands to the more dashing colors of the lowlands and eastern sections of the country. As schools re-open for the new year, you can be most certain that Addis Ababa’s youth have joined their cohorts world wide in the search for the coolest outfit with which to impress and secure good standing in their school’s social hierarchy. The latest pop-culture inspired fashions dominate, instantly broadcast to these impressionable customers via television, video and satellite connections with the world. Fashion is most certainly in the air - and fortunately it is not all imported. As the streets and various celebration venues of Addis Ababa confirmed over the weekend, Ethiopian traditional outfits remain the superior selection for holiday attire.

This week we feature a woman who has succeeded, and continues to enjoy success as a designer, both in high fashion and ready to wear lines; traditional as well as western style clothing. W/o Sara Abera was born and raised in the town of Dembi Dollo, Wellega, in western Ethiopia. She attended the American Mission School where she received an international standard education in a town setting that brought her into constant contact with a wide diversity of Ethiopian peoples. "We were only 35 kilometers from Gambella" says w/o Sara, "and the aesthetic sense of the people there, the Masango and others, really had an influence on me. Young girls would fashion skirts out of leaves they would collect in the forest, and wear them with beads. In fact my first design was for children’s clothes influenced by the girls of the Masango ethnic group."

In school w/o Sara had a penchant for drawing. "My favorite subjects were women that I dressed in whatever my imagination would create for them. There was one teacher in particular at the American Mission School who noticed what I was doing - and she would encourage me. She would always say that I should learn how to make clothes." In Dembi Dollo w/o Sara began taking sewing lessons, and that was the beginning of a lifelong career.

At the age of 16 w/o Sara moved to Addis Ababa where she finished high school. In Addis Ababa she continued taking dress making lessons. After high school she enrolled in correspondence courses with institutions in the United States, then in late 1987 an opportunity arose to go to Greece for study. Over the next few years W/o Sara traveled between Greece and Ethiopia refining her design techniques and skills, and gaining exposure to the ever changing world of international high fashion. W/o Sara continues her fashion education to this day through correspondence courses, regular travel, and a constant eye on the developments in the contantly evolving world of international high fashion through the internet.

Today Sara Abera is one of the foremost names in Ethiopian fashion. In 1989 she opened her own design shop and manufacturing company. Since 1989 Sara Garment Designers have been producing high quality garments for a wide selection of customers. Their product line ranges from traditional Ethiopian designs to the latest in international high fashion concepts. The company has established a solid reputation for producing quality uniforms for a wide range of clientele including Midroc-Ethiopia and Ethiopian Airlines, as well as school uniforms for Addis Ababa schools. They also provide design and consulting services to major garment manufacturers in Ethiopia, including ELICO, the Ethiopian Leather Industries co.

Sara Garment Designers and Manufacturer’s organizational objectives are first, "to introduce to the rest of the world the rich heritage of indigenous weaving products combined with modern textiles." W/o Sara explained, "I admire our shemane (weavers) the way they bring out exquisite patterns by counting thread. In countries like Japan their traditional clothing, Kimonos, have achieved great reputations internationally. I think our Ethiopian traditional outfits deserve similar accalim. I want to promote their work." Secondly, Sara Garments aims to produce locally clothing and uniforms of high quality and for any purpose. They are achieving these laudable goals, which also have the desired effect of helping "Ethiopia preserve... much needed foreign currency reserves.

"The future holds great possibilities for the Ethiopian garment industry" states W/o Sara. Reflecting on global inclinations toward environmentally friendly, organic production processes, W/o Sara believes that Ethiopian hand woven cotton textiles are bound to be international winners, "you only need a good agent on the other side to promote our products. The world is going back to nature. In Ethiopia our clothing is hand made with no chemicals - these are characteristics that in the global market should add considerable value to our products."

Regarding finished goods, W/o Sara believes that the Ethiopian aesthetic sense, with a few modifications to make dresses easier to wear and more suitable to the more hectic western way of life, are just waiting to take off. She should know. In the past few years W/o Sara has had her designs paraded by international models on the catwalks of Europe and various African countries. She has participated in international shows held in Paris and Dusseldorf, Germany. On the African continent her designs were featured in the M-Net Face of Africa event, and she will be amongst the handful of African designers competing in next years African Designers competition. Just this year W/o Sara participated in the Fifth Annual Vukani Fashion Awards held in Johannesburg, the only Ethiopian designer invited to display designs a the event organised by The South African Fashion Designers Association. The reactions were incredible. "In Europe the audiences immediately picked up on our styles for summer wear." The orders have been coming in ever since.

Today, approximately seventy percent of Sara Garments products are exported. The focus is on shibshib and shemma fabrics using tibeb (traditional decorative patterns) as accessories. The outfits are light and cut in styles embracing the latest trends in international fashion design. One of things that sets Sara Garments apart form other design houses attempting to break into the export market, is the extreme attention to detail accorded to everything that they touch. All inputs, from tibeb orders to the labels that accompany their products are inspected by the detail conscious designer. "That is how I have built a successful business."

This inclination to high quality is also reflected in the attention that W/o Sara pays to her employees. Sara Garment Designers and Manufacturers employs over thirty staff members. The production team has grown steadily over the years, with talent hand picked from the best schools and tailor shops in town. Because the training that is available locally in design and pattern making is not up to international standard, W/o Sara spends several hours each week personally training her team: "I am still learning myself. Fashion is continuously developing with new trends, new fabrics, now colors, cuts, and so forth being introduced. Whatever I pick up from my courses, magazines, and over the internet I share with my staff members."

Locally, W/o Sara, who has a boutique near the Awash Bank building on Bole Road, produces high fashion garments from imported fabrics for an exclusive clientele. This compliments her work in traditional clothing making the design house a well balanced clothing manufacturing business.

As Sara Garment Designers and Manufacturers celebrates ten years of success in the Ethiopian fashion and garment industry, the company’s horizons have grown to include participation in benefit events. Just this week several creations from W/o Sara’s 1999 Ethiopian Collection were part of the internationally acclaimed African Mosaique fashion gala that was held in New York to raise funds for The Ethiopian Children’s Fund - an organization dedicated to assisting disadvantaged children in Ethiopia, established by Ethiopian top model Anna Getaneh. African Mosaique will be coming to Addis Ababa in November bringing some of the top names in African and international design for an evening that will easily be the fashion event of the century (stay tuned for more information). W/o Sara Abera is one of the select Ethiopian designers invited to participate and we anticipate a tremendous show.

email Sara Abera at

email Indrias at

Women's Global Trade Fair and Investment Forum to Convene in Addis

The city of Addis Ababa is due to host an international Trade Fair and Investment Forum under the theme "Credit and Private Direct Investment for the Enhancement of Women Entrepreneurs from October 15, to 23, 1998."

This was disclosed by W/ro Yeshimebet Tessema, President of the Ethiopian Women Entrepreneurs Association in a press conference held at the Addis Ababa Hilton on June 12, 1998.

The president said, " The exhibition and trade forum avails an opportunity for Ethiopian women entrepreneurs to introduce our various small scale and industrial products and unique handicrafts to the Ethiopian public as well as the international business community".

She also said that the forum would help Ethiopian business women to share their experiences with their counterparts in the areas of import/export trades and would create awareness about the African trade environment in various international trade sectors.

W/ro Yeshimebet urged male businessmen to assist female entrepreneurs to make the outcome of the event a success. The Trade Fair and Investment Forum is held every two years. The first Global Women Entrepreneurs Trade Fair and Investment Forum was held in Accra, Ghana between June 26 and July 3, 1996.

The different events will be held both at the UN Conference and the Addis Ababa exhibition centers. More than 1000 participants from more than 55 countries are expected to take part in the different events.

Many of the United Nations specialized agencies such as: UNECA/ACW, UNIDO, UNDP, UNIFEM and other organizations like the North American Women in Business, OAU, USAID, ILO, etc. will also take part.

Ethiopian Elfenesh Alemu Comes in Third in Amsterdam Marathon

Ethiopian Elfenesh Alemu came in third at the Amsterdam Marathon held on Sunday November 1. She came in with a time of 2:30:19. Ireland's Catherina Mckiernan won the women's race with a time of 2:22:23. The runner-up position was taken by Austria's Silvia Oberem-Krolik in a time of 2:29:30.

In the men's race the first two positions went to the Kenyans, Sammy Korir and Simon Bor respectively. Spaniard Alberto Juzdado came in third place. They came in with a time of 2:08:13, 2:08:47 and 2:09:59 respectively.

On a similar note, in the New York Marathon held the next day on Monday Ethiopians could only manage 15th and 16th position in the men's race and 16th position in the women's race.

Where is Ethiopia's past glory in the marathon? Nowadays we are hearing of Kenyans dominating the marathon. Our long-standing marathon record was also recently taken away. It seems the days of Abebe Bikila are no more to be found again. We urge all those people involved in the marathon world of Ethiopia to help regain Ethiopia's strength and pride in the marathon days. Let us bring back the days of Abebe Bikila.

Ethiopian Femous women Runner: Fatima Roba becomes First African Women to win Boston in 2:26:24! Congratulations to Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia, and her winning time was 2:26:24---First African women to win Boston!To know more about her viste ATHLETES

Fatima Roba

Ethiopian Women Leadership in History Queen Sheba


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